As part of our ongoing blog series in honor of American Stroke Awareness Month, this week’s post is all about stroke prevention. Although there is no way to completely protect ourselves against stroke, there are many choices we can make on a day to day basis that significantly reduce our risk.
Here are a few areas to focus on.
What is a Stroke? Read the first post in this series.
Start With Healthy Living
As with most disease prevention, a healthy lifestyle is the first step toward preventing stroke. What we eat, our activity levels, how much sleep we get—focus on these three areas on a consistent basis and your risk will be significantly reduced.
- Healthy Nutrition – We’ve written at length on the importance of nutrition in everyday life. Start with the basics: limit your intake of refined sugars and high-fat foods. Poor diet can contribute to some of the conditions that carry higher stroke risk, such as high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. What you eat has a direct impact on these conditions.
- Regular Exercise – You know the rule of thumb: three times a week, half an hour at a time. To reduce stroke risk, though, it is recommended that you exercise more frequently, even daily. This can be as simple as taking a fifteen-minute walk during the day, or a light stretch in the morning. Find an activity that motivates you, or sign up for a group activity (boxing, yoga, running) to be motivated by others.
- Consistent Sleep – Ah, the oft-overlooked essential. Sleep feeds into all that we do, including our risk of stroke. Unhealthy sleep patterns can add up over time, worsening some of the other risk factors for stroke risk. Aim for an average of eight hours a night every week and your body will thank you.
Your Doctor Can Help
Outside of the lifestyle choices that we control on a daily basis, it’s important to visit our physician on a regular basis to discuss stroke, monitor our diagnostics, and keep an eye on any conditions that contribute to stroke risk.
- Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol — Both high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can contribute to stroke risk. Regular visits to the physician can help identify any trend lines. The doctor will likely make recommendations for regulating these numbers.
- Atrial Fibrillation – This condition, characterized by abnormal heart rhythm, carries heightened stroke risk. It is important that you treat and manage atrial fibrillation.
- Diabetes – Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes carry heightened stroke risk. It’s important to monitor and manage these conditions, working closely with your physician.
- Obesity – Maintaining a healthy weight range is crucial to avoiding a stroke. Obesity, among its many dangers and possible complications, contributes significantly to stroke risk
Paying attention to these potential problem areas can help reduce stroke risk throughout the course of a lifetime. However, it’s important to keep things within reason and resist the fear and anxiety that sometimes accompany stroke risk. Why? Because high-stress levels increase the risk for all sorts of disease, including stroke.
Be sure to stay tuned to the AlterG® blog as we continue our blog series dedicated to Stroke Awareness Month. In our upcoming post, we’ll take a look at the road to rehabilitation after a stroke, including the role of physical therapy during the rehab process.
Did you know that many stroke rehabilitation protocols utilize the Alter® Anti-Gravity Treadmill?